06 December 2010

What to Buy for a Boy

It's hard to buy stuff for boys.  But you know what?  You're probably overthinking it.

I don't know what the boy you're buying stuff for is like, but I've learned some things about gift giving in the eight (!) years that I've been buying presents for Matt.  Obviously, not all boys are the same, so these guidelines are for the Matt type of guy.  Matt is an avid reader, and doesn't give a rat's ass about clothes.  He loves to be entertained and he hates unnecessary crap. 

Here are the things I've learned about buying gifts for Matt (and for my brother, and for a handful of guy friends), and you could probably apply these same lessons to gift-giving for some of the boys in your life.
  1. Don't buy him stuff with beer logos all over it.  Boys like beer, sure, but do not need to decorate their home and their bodies with beer paraphernalia.  If you find yourself tempted to buy him a matching hat and tshirt with some logo on it, stop yourself, and instead just buy him some beer. (Or some bourbon if you want to get really fancy.)
  2. He loves to read, but he's probably already read the thing you were thinking of buying him.  There's no shame in a gift card to Barnes and Noble.  (But if you must buy him a book, here are some great authors: Chuck Klosterman, Bill Bryson, Stephen King, Bill Simmons, Malcolm Gladwell.)
  3. Seasons of shows make fantastic gifts for the guy who loves entertainment.  If I had to buy a guy a gift right now, this is what it'd probably be.  Among the best choices right now are: The Wire, Mad Men, Dexter, Friday Night Lights, Breaking Bad and Battlestar Galactica.  This is also a super fun gift because if it's something that you are also interested in, then the two of you have a fun activity.  (Also, Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared if he's a Judd Apatow fan.)
  4. If you really want to buy him clothes, go for comfort before fashion.  A tshirt or a hoodie with his favorite team can be cool, and some man slippers can be welcome, too, as long as he doesn't already have a pair.  (Now, if you can secretly slip in fashion that's also comfortable, then you win.)  Oh, and buying yourself clothing for his favorite team is stupid.  He thinks so, too, even if he's not telling you.
  5. If you've got the funds, he's going to be thrilled to have that latest electronic thing: ipod, TV, game system, etc.  You'll never go wrong with this, but you might not always have the money for it (in fact, we usually put a $50 limit on gifts to each other, so big fancy surprise gifts basically never happen).
  6. Tickets to things make awesome gifts.  Whether it's to a concert or a sporting event or to see David Sedaris speak (he's coming here in April!), tickets can be wildly fun (and maybe even self-serving, too, because you can be the plus one). 
  7. And, finally, don't get too cutesy or sentimental.  That what gifts to your girlfriends are for.  He doesn't want anything that you crafted, or painted, or knit.  If you want to be sentimental, then include a nice note with a big-screen TV.
Anyway, those are my thoughts.  Obviously, these guidelines would not work for every guy, and maybe there are guys out there who like to receive crafts as gifts (though I seriously doubt it). 

Any great gift ideas (or things to definitely NOT buy) for a guy that I've overlooked? 

1 comment:

  1. 4. Are you saying don't buy team logo clothes for yourself and say they're a gift for him? Or don't wear team logo clothes yourself at all?

    6. I'm totally jealous about you getting to see David Sedaris.

    7. I have found that I can get in the occassional cutesy gift for Ben - a mix CD or a stuffed toy from a comic or video game he likes.



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